Portrait of Sebastian Munster

Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640)
c. 1597-1600
Oil on panel 
26-1/4 x 20-3/8 in. (66.7 x 51.8 cm) 
Credit Line:
The Norton Simon Foundation 
Accession Number:
© The Norton Simon Foundation 
Not on View

As a young man, Rubens made many copies of sixteenth century paintings, but only a small number of them have been preserved. This portrait of an elderly man dressed in a black hat and cloak is a copy of a painting by Joos van Cleve (c.1528) which is now in the Prado Museum in Madrid.

Rubens' copy shows his characteristic streaky preparation of the under layer, clearly noticeable under the surface of the face, as well as his free brushwork and warm colors. The solidly painted hands and costume suggest an early date, perhaps before Rubens left for Italy in 1600.


Ladislaus Bloch, Vienna (sale Frederick Muller, Amsterdam, Nov. 14, 1905, sold to);
John G. Johnson, Philadelphia, given in 1912 to;
Wilstach Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art (sold Philadelphia, Samuel T. Freeman & Co., 29-30 October 1954, lot 202, sold to);
[Julius Weitzner, New York, until at least 1955].
Morris I. Kaplan, Chicago (sale London, Sotheby's, 12 June 1968, lot 85, sold to);
The Norton Simon Foundation.

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